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02 Jun 2017
Forth Valley Stronger Together

guest post from Carolan Connolly


Why are carers always the last to know about changes to services that affect them directly.
Our lives are already challenged in GLASGOW due to the forced Personalisation and SDS agenda affecting the lives of our loved ones which seen many of us seeking guidance and support through our local Carers Centres.
NOW we learn they are all out for tender!………… WELL ACTUALLY ONLY A FEW CARERS KNOW,  THE MANY THOUSANDS WHO USE THESE SERVICES HAVE NOT BEEN TOLD. I myself found out by chance  and in accordance to the timeline thousands will not have their views considered. 
The timeline and focus:
*Focus Groups 11th 13th 14th May
*Issues addressed by late August early September.
*The winning service/s will be in position by 1st October.
* The winning tender will be measured on 60% Quality and 40% Budget.

For many carers the centres offer them a life line and lets face it for us change is never good, it usually means cuts and a disservice.

So from now to October unpaid carers all over Glasgow will worry, be fearful and possibly stress over the unknown. All of the things usually alleviated by those very services now out for tender.

Readers will remember the article in our last newsletter about the proposed 20 bed care home in Glasgow. 

Glasgow City Council has decided not to proceed with its controversial plan to commission a new 20 bed care home for adults with learning disabilities. 

The tender process finished before Christmas and in early January senior council staff cited "technical issues out of our control" as reason for not proceeding.  We are delighted that wiser heads at the councils have prevailed and decided not to go ahead with this proposal. 

Unnamed sources at the council denied that the concerns and objections raised the this policy has any effect saying “If you think your views changed any policy you couldn’t be more wrong.   But the source went on to make a comment that reflects the unease inside the council at some of its own policies—”but keep up the good fight we need campaigners like you.”

While this is a great victory, the council is still able to place individuals in care homes for older people that are much larger than the rejected 20 bed unit. 



A new petition is shortly to be heard in the Scottish Parliament calling for more help in providing a safe environment for some of the  most vulnerable children in Scotland.  The current use of physical interventions, physical restraint and seclusion in Scottish schools is poorly understood and inconsistent leading to many children experiencing what may be called at best, institutional child abuse or at worst, criminal assault. 

A number of families from Dundee are promoting this due to their experiences at the local Kingspark school.  One boy at the age of 11 was forced by fourpublished with permission adult members of staff to the ground, face down in a prone restraint, that left him badly bruised and traumatised for reasons that have never been properly explained (see picture).   Other families found their own children being subject to other forms of restraint and bruising. 

The parliament is being asked to recognise this experience as part of a much wider failure of public policy in Scotland.  

There is no national guidance for the management of behaviour for children with special needs in Scottish schools.  Such guidance exists for children in residential care – Holding Safely – but this is not designed for schools. 

The petition wants guidance for the protection of children who often lack language skills, can be inconsistent in their recall of events and are not believed when they speak up.  If there is one thing that Winterbourne has shown, it is that sometimes the places meant to protect the most vulnerable can be the most dangerous.  

The current position is that it is up to each local authority to develop its own policy on behavioural management and physical intervention.  The result of this lack of guidance is that schools do not understand how to manage the behaviour of the pupils who attend, some who communicate through behaviour, others whose behaviour marks underlying distress.  Staff are left poorly supported and unable to properly support their pupils.  And children are left damaged!

It is our belief that such National guidance should be founded on the following principles.

· Staff should always aim to reinforce positive behaviour

· Staff should aim to defuse, deflect and de-escalate

· Staff should minimise the use of Physical Intervention

· Staff should minimise the use of seclusion

The petition calls for effective external inspection.    The Care Inspectorate have no current role in inspecting day schools which produce significant amounts of social care such as special schools.  HMIE is concerned with the inspection of educational standards.  There should be a clear role for independent inspection of the care regimes in schools. 



National Guidance exists for the use of restraint on “looked after” children in Scotland but nothing similar covers children with special needs in schools.  This is a major oversight and means schools have no national standards on the appropriateness of restraint techniques, the use of de-escalation and the necessary levels of training. 

This means that is some circumstances, bad practice has arisen and parents have little recourse to challenge teaching and other support staff.  For more information see our stories on the events at Kingspark School in Dundee.  

Even more surprising is that there is no external supervision of the care regime in schools.  HMIE does not cover this in their inspections.    It is left up the same local authorities who employ staff and run the schools to monitor them.  This is a real concern and we are supporting a national petition to start  a national dialogue to improve this picture.

Sign the petition by clicking here


Dear Mr Hood,

 I refer to your recent email entitled “A return to institutional care for adults with learning disabilities in Glasgow?”. Your email raises two fundamental concerns regarding the current tendering process for the provision of residential accommodation for adults with learning difficulties which could cater for up to 20 individuals.

Firstly, can I emphasise that this in no way represents a reversal of the progressive, democratically established, learning disability policy of supporting individuals to live independently within the community. Specifically, there is no attempt to redirect anyone from the community into residential care.

This tender relates to a reconfiguration of a comparatively small level of provision of existing residential care to this client group; i.e. the individual service users in scope for this revised provision are, in the main, already in residential placements. The current provision is outwith the city boundary and there are significant benefits for the individuals concerned, as well as their family and friends, if they were supported within their home city.

It is also recognised that there will be future circumstances where as a result of, for instance, diminishing health and increasing needs that it is simply no longer appropriate for some individuals to be sustained in individual placements. This may be because the appropriate form of care cannot be provided in the person’s home (e.g. nursing) or that, following individual reviews which identify increasing need, the significantly increasing costs of supporting such placements does not provide best value to the council or to the individual.

The award of any contract of significant value requires Executive Committee approval; on the conclusion of this tender exercise, should an award be recommended, it will be brought to Executive Committee for a final democratic decision.

You also appear to suggest that every instance of group living/residential care is, by definition, a bad thing. Having worked as a Nursing Assistant at Ladysbridge Hospital near Banff, (the North East equivalent of Lennox Castle,) and having served on the Board of an organisation supporting adults with learning disabilities to live in the community, I have first hand knowledge and a deep personal commitment to independent living. You cite a number of examples of some of the terrible failures in institutional and group living. While I would fully support your condemnation of these failures I am also aware that there are circumstances and numerous exemplars of both the appropriateness and considerable success of group support for a small proportion of adults with learning disabilities.

The service envisioned under the current tender process does not equate to large scale institutions such as Lennox Castle nor should it be tarnished because of cases such as Winterbourne which, though thankfully rare, represent a failure of the service rather than the concept.

This council remains committed to supporting all our citizens, irrespective of age, disability or background to live as independently and freely as possible within the community. We are also committed to ensuring that, to the full extent of their capacity, people with whom SW engage have genuine choice. Neither of these commitments in any way precludes the provision of well run and properly provisioned group support in a small number of appropriate cases.

I trust you will find this clarification of the position helpful.

 Kind regards,

 Cllr Malcolm Cunning